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Monday, October 12

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Melinda Secor is the guest editor today.

WANTED: New guest editors for Saturdays and Sundays.  If you're interested, please email me.

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photo courtesy of Mr. Brendel

Original article "The U.S. would be severely mistaken if it believes the sending of a warship through what China perceives as sovereign territory will be perceived as anything other than offensive aggression by an imperialist power. The U.S. is already engaged in proxy wars with Russia in Ukraine and Syria, which have the potential to devolve into an open conflict between the superpowers. Attempting to intimidate the Chinese in their own backyard seems like an extremely ill conceived move at this time....
Original article "A rationale for opposing Russia’s bombing of ISIS has been manufactured, and is now escalating – with a chorus of criticism citing the reported errors of Putin’s 'unprofessional' campaign, as Secretary Carter termed it....The world need not be convinced of these arguments, only enough Americans to show support in polls for U.S. forces operating directly in Syria, and meeting Russia on the battle lines as an enemy."
Original article "Here's something you probably never saw or heard about in the west. This is Putin answering questions regarding ISIS from a US journalist at the Valdai International Discussion Club in late 2014."
Original article "The old adage, 'desperate times call for desperate measures' appears to be the theme of U.S. officials these days. With Russia entering the fray in Syria, the United States’ ultimate goal of ousting President Bashar al-Assad is becoming much more elusive. So is that why U.S. officials and analysts essentially applauded this weekend when ISIS killed a top Iranian military commander in Syria?"
Original article "The US Treasury has recently opened an inquiry about the so-called 'Islamic State’s' (ISIS/ISIL) use of large numbers of brand-new Toyota trucks. The issue has arisen in the wake of Russia’s air operations over Syria and growing global suspicion that the US itself has played a key role in arming, funding, and intentionally perpetuating the terrorist army across Syria and Iraq."
Original article "Last year’s National Defense Authorization Act allocated half a billion dollars to train 'vetted,' 'moderate' rebels to attack ISIS in Syria and also to overthrow the country’s sovereign government. This schizophrenic policy goal not surprisingly produced a total (after the others were killed, captured, or willingly gave their weapons to ISIS) of four or five fighters. Even this micro force of five ultimately found itself in the depths of embarrassment as it...
Original article "As US attempts to extort a settlement in Syria built on regime-change, US senators and generals conspire to arm and back a new terrorist army aimed at Iran."
Original article "Fighting toxic spills is serious business."
Original article "According to an emergency plan recently distributed by St. Louis County officials, a fire at the Bridgeton Landfill is now within 1,000 feet of a nuclear waste dump. The landfill fire has actually been burning for over 5 years, and they have been unable to contain it thus far."
Original article "And just in case anyone wants to feel superior about China's decision to grade its entire populace on a mandatory curve, let's not forget that employers and loan providers are using applicants' social media interactions to determine their worthiness -- including who they're friends with and what those friends are posting to Twitter, Facebook, etc. The US government may not be calling for a 'citizen score,' but there have been pushes for a national ID, and...
Original article "The U.N. will be considering norms related to cyberspace security this month. A committee comprised of 20 nations published a proposal over the summer for the General Assembly to consider."
Original article "In recent weeks, the organization’s members have embarked on creative protests that encourage  current intelligence employees to follow their conscience and quit. Their latest stunt, over an NSA facility in Germany, involved a drone and fliers."
Original article "The New York Police Department is out of control, and the New York City prosecutors are right there with them. In a case of unbelievable police and prosecutorial abuse of power, the NYPD broke an NBA player’s leg last April for 'contempt of cop,' and prosecutors decided to ignore the evidence and slap Thabo Sefolosha with three criminal charges anyway."
Original article "Cigarette smoking and heavy alcohol use cause epigenetic changes to DNA that reflect accelerated biological aging in distinct, measurable ways, according to research. The researchers estimated biological age using a previously validated epigenetic 'clock' , calculated the difference between biological age and chronological age, and assessed the relationship between tobacco and alcohol use and premature aging."
Original article "The first ancient human genome from Africa to be sequenced has revealed that a wave of migration back into Africa from Western Eurasia around 3,000 years ago was up to twice as significant as previously thought, and affected the genetic make-up of populations across the entire African continent."
Original article A Photo Blog
The Pros and the Con
Paul Hein 2015-04-27 07:48
Column by Paul Hein. Exclusive to STR You are notified by a group of strangers that you must send them a large amount (by ounce? gram?) of money. The request is reasonably polite, although there is, in small print, or hushed, mumbled tones, a promise of unpleasantness should you decline the request. Or perhaps you learn, by TV or newspaper, that henceforth you will be required to do something...
Dear OSPIRG Gal...
Paul Bonneau 2015-04-17 08:33
Column by Paul Bonneau. Exclusive to STR Responding to the door bell, there was a young gal with a vaguely eastern European accent at the door, who immediately started a spiel about how she is a member of Oregon Student Public Interest Research Group, and how they are working on a campaign to stop overuse of antibiotics by farmers. Normally I would enjoy talking with a cute lady, but I was grumpy...
Us, or U.S.?
Paul Hein 2015-04-06 07:39
Column by Paul Hein. Exclusive to STR I was watching a television program recently dealing with the events leading up to World War II, but primarily concerned with the attacks by Japan upon China, and the presidential order establishing the American Volunteer Force to provide American pilots and aircraft to fight for the Chinese. The commentator remarked, “The U.S. realized that it could...
HFT FTW: Rise of the Machines
GainesvilleCoins 2015-04-01 07:53
Column by Everett Millman. Exclusive to STR P { margin-bottom: 0.08in; }We're sorry But you're no longer needed Or wanted Or even cared about here Machines can do a better job than you This is what you get for asking questions We’ve entered into a new frontier, and there’s no going back. High-frequency trading (or HFT for short) is here to stay. Exchanges will never be the...
Throwing Caution to the Wind
Douglas Herman 2015-03-23 08:48
Column by Doug Herman. Exclusive to STR How I wrote, directed and produced a low-budget feature film while driving long hours, defying death, diamond mining and a double-stabbing at the age of 60. A true story. A cautionary tale. “Before you realize it, you have succeeded in completing what seemed originally a colossal undertaking; not by one long-sustained effort but rather by a...
What's the Difference?
Paul Hein 2015-03-04 08:39
Column by Paul Hein. Exclusive to STR Let’s pretend that something quite momentous and unprecedented will happen in the next election. First, there will be two candidates for president. No surprise there. Now for the incredible part: both candidates will actually take their oath of office seriously! No, really! I know it’s unthinkable, but think about it anyway. We know the...
Everything I Needed to Know About Chris Kyle I Learned From Jesse Ventura
Travis Irvine 2015-02-19 09:34
Column by Travis Irvine. Exclusive to STR The other week, in addition to the usual celebrations for the ridiculous holiday known as Groundhog Day, the citizens of Texas celebrated another slightly-less-ridiculous holiday on Feb. 2: Chris Kyle Day. I'm not sure what traditions would stem from such a holiday (if you snipe a person and it's a terrorist, do we get 6 more months of war in Iraq...
Chaos Gets a Bad Rap: Importance of Chaology to Liberty Recommended
Lawrence Samuels 2015-02-18 08:43
Column by L.K. Samuels. Exclusive to STR Chaos gets a bad rap—from the academic and scientific world, even from some uninformed libertarians. Few people realize that without the dynamics of chaos, order would not exist. In fact, nothing would exist. Without chaos there would be no creation, no structure and no existence. After all, order is merely the repetition of patterns; chaos is the...
American Sniper: Hero, Psychopath or Mass Murderer?
Douglas Herman 2015-02-17 09:04
P { margin-bottom: 0.08in; } If Chris Kyle and Clint Eastwood Are Your Heroes, Tip a Toast to Occupiers Everywhere.  Especially That Mexican Guy at the Alamo. Column by Douglas Herman. Exclusive to STR Chris Kyle is gonna win an Oscar later this month. Or the actor playing his part, Bradley Cooper. More than just a film about a misunderstood warrior, coward, killing machine or patriot...
Travels in Time
Paul Hein 2015-02-16 10:27
Column by Paul Hein. Exclusive to STR The idea of time travel has always fascinated me. If I could step into a time machine and go back to some earlier date, which one would I choose? And what would I take with me? At one time, I thought the farther back in time I could go, the better. How I could dazzle the ancient Romans, or Greeks! But wait! With what would I dazzle them? Perhaps my watch, or...
Ringo's Law and the Healthcare System of Doom
Glen Allport 2009-08-12 16:00
Exclusive to STR - 1 - The Law Some years ago, noted philosopher Ringo Starr described an important and now-famous discovery: "Everything government touches turns to crap." That observation clearly deserves elevation in status from the mere "something Ringo said" to the more formal Ringo's Law. Ringo's Law generates accurate predictions and explains events in useful fashion;...
Separation of Me and State
B.R. Merrick 2009-07-26 16:00
Exclusive to STR I listened to Dr. Laura every once in a while years ago, back when I was proudly religious and conservative. She was, and I assume still is, unabashedly conservative. She took a lot of abuse for it, but she stuck with it. (Of course, it did make her a millionaire.) One time when I was listening, a man called in to tell her that a young woman he knew had just had an abortion...
Anthony Gregory 2004-07-13 16:00
If anarchism means anything, it is a rejection of the state, meaning, a rejection of an institution claiming and maintaining a monopoly on violence. Of course, anarchists find themselves in the real world, in which such monopolies clearly exist. Some of the things states do we might even approve of, at least circumstantially. If an anarchist is being mugged, and a police officer comes by to stop...
The Greatest Tragedy
Anthony Gregory 2004-05-16 16:00
The greatest tragedy in our culture is the widely accepted lie that the wars in U.S. history, since after the American Revolution, have been necessary, proper and even glorious. And this lie has been swallowed, parroted, and perpetuated by many of those who call themselves conservatives, liberals, progressives, socialists, constitutionalists, 'libertarians' and even 'anarchists'--all to the fatal...
Why Deism and Corrupt Government Don"t Mix
Robert L. Johnson 2004-12-16 17:00
It's been my experience when talking to people about religion, that the overwhelming majority of them have never heard of Deism. Hopefully, with the recent conversion of world-famous philosopher and atheist, Antony Flew, to Deism, this will begin to change. The lack of knowledge of Deism is highly unusual given the strong role Deism has played in the history of Europe and America. But, as FDR is...
Libertarianism in One Sentence
Roderick Long 2004-05-30 16:00
David Bergland once offered Libertarianism in One Lesson. I would like to offer libertarianism in one sentence. The most succinct formulation of libertarianism I can think of is this: Other people are not your property. In other words: They are not yours to boss around. Their lives are not yours to micromanage. The fruits of their labour are not yours to dispose...
I Remember
strike 2004-05-08 16:00
I remember how, after the brakes went out on the station wagon after coming down a hill, she reached over just before we crashed and held me back against the seat with her arm. I remember that vividly even though I was only a little boy. That probably saved my life, as my head still cracked the windshield. I remember how she'd pick us up from swimming lessons and take us to Vacation Bible...
Wheat and Chaff
Bill Butler 2009-12-08 17:00
Exclusive to STR 'His winnowing fork is in his hand, and he will clear his threshing floor, gathering his wheat into the barn and burning up the chaff with unquenchable fire.' ~ Matthew 3:12 So much of life is about: (1) making distinctions; and (2) making choices. Indeed, the meaning and consequence of all our lives can fairly be said to be a test of our free will choices and the rational,...
Jim Davies 2009-10-25 17:00
Exclusive to STR  Where and when did government start? It's quite a mystery. Given that human beings are basically harmless creatures, how did it happen that an inherently violent institution arose in human society, whose whole raison d'tre is always to destroy the fundamental human right of self-governance? The question is important not just to satisfy historical understanding, but to...
Does the American Empire Deserve to Die?
Douglas Herman 2009-11-01 17:00
 Exclusive to STR November 2, 2009 I’m halfway through a reflective book written by an old curmudgeon. Part patriot, part historian, all gadfly, Gore Vidal wrote Imperial America: Reflections on the United States of Amnesia in 2004, just before the upcoming national elections. Almost a time capsule coupled with dire prophecy, the book is a sober,...
Do We Need a Vaccine for Hubris? MUST READ
D. Saul Weiner 2015-02-13 09:13
Column by D. Saul Weiner. Exclusive to STR There are a lot of heated exchanges going on right now in social media related to vaccination. Many people have become convinced that parents who do not vaccinate are jeopardizing the health of others and that vaccines for children should be mandated. Politicians who are expected to run for president in 2016 are starting to weigh in on the topic and some...
'Obamacare Nightmare Edition' of Ringo's Law and the Healthcare System of Doom MUST READ
Glen Allport 2013-10-30 08:02
Column by Glen Allport. Exclusive to STR Introduction for this 2013 Edition As I write this – October 28, 2013, more than four years after the column below was posted (here with minor edits; see the original at this link if you wish) – NBC News is reporting that the Obama administration “knew millions could not keep their health insurance" under Obamacare, and has known...
An Armed March on Washington? MUST READ
Alex R. Knight III 2013-05-07 06:52
Column by Alex R. Knight III. Exclusive to STR Perhaps never before have I encountered a proposal within Liberty Movement circles that has generated more controversy faster and further than Adam Kokesh’s planned July 4th march on Washington, District of Criminals, in which he states that himself and the other participants “will march with rifles loaded & slung across our backs to...
The Orwellian Paradigm--Killing You, For Your Own Safety MUST READ
fmoghul 2013-04-10 08:12
Column by Faisal Moghul. Exclusive to STR Almost 30 years ago, cultural critic Neil Postman argued in Amusing Ourselves to Death that television’s gradual replacement of the printing press has created a dumbed-down culture driven by mindless entertainment. In this context, Postman claimed that Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World correctly foresaw our dystopian future, as opposed to George...
Frameworks, Virtual Reality and Civil Society: A Manifesto for the Doctrine of Love and Freedom MUST READ
Glen Allport 2012-12-06 08:44
Column by Glen Allport. Exclusive to STR Perhaps I should say this paradigm shift is resuming. The healthier incoming paradigm is a modern, more accurate, better-supported, and better-understood version of one that began the shift towards a free, healthy, and prosperous world more than three centuries ago and which informed the creation of the United States itself: Classical Liberalism. - 1...
Timeline of a World-Killing Paradigm Shift MUST READ
Glen Allport 2012-05-14 00:00
Column by Glen Allport. Exclusive to STR   Part 3 of "Could the Non-Aggression Principle Stop the Sixth Great Extinction?"   Part One of this series discussed the Non-Aggression principle, calling it "the libertarian half of the Golden Rule" (compassion being the other half) and describing the function of aggression in creating not only tyranny and war but also...
Terrorist Alert: Government Extremists Threaten Americans MUST READ
Glen Allport 2012-03-26 00:00
Column by Glen Allport. Exclusive to STR   Question: are you more terrified by Muslim extremists, by "domestic terrorists" – or by your own government? Which group is more likely to assault you? To kill you? To unjustly imprison and even torture you?   The U.S. federal government has ALREADY:   Built and is staffing a huge gulag of concentration camps [...
The State Is a Firing Squad MUST READ
JGVibes 2012-02-17 01:00
Column by JGVibes.   Exclusive to STR   Although the common perception of human nature is very negative, the truth is that most people who aren’t mentally ill have a very difficult time committing acts of violence. Usually it takes a sizeable payment and a fair amount of manipulation to convince someone to act violently, and even then a tremendous amount of guilt typically...
How the 1% Took America's Wealth--and How to Get It Back MUST READ
Glen Allport 2011-12-01 01:00
Column by Glen Allport. Exclusive to STR  - 1 - Plundering Wealth vs Producing Wealth   In recent decades, the rich have gathered an increasing share of the total wealth in the United States. As this wealth disparity grows and especially as large numbers of the formerly middle class fall into poverty and even into homelessness, this flow of wealth from main street (from anyone not...
'Anarchy or Minarchy' Is Only Half the Question, Part 2 MUST READ
Glen Allport 2011-04-13 03:00
Column by Glen Allport. Exclusive to STR  This is Part 2 of a response to a column by Wesley Messamore. Last week's Part One of this column discussed the following:   ·      Minarchy: Lighting a Match to the Fuse of Tyranny ·      Anarchy: By Itself, Yang without Yin ·      The Missing Key...